Mandala: few titles are as perfectly befitting an album for a band reaching the culmination of a decade-long musical transformation. With this recording, RX Bandits have truly struck the essence of their merging of genres into a complete and masterfully detailed mosaic.
The metamorphic rock group's latest disc showcases a more rock-oriented quartet, while deftly sweeping in elements of Latin, prog-rock, punk, rock to dub and blues. The much anticipated follow-up to 2006’s ...And The Battle Begun jettisons ahead of where the last left off, scaling back the use of horns and adding more focus on balance and powerful dynamics. Songs like album opener "My Lonesome Only Friend" easily shift from entrancing chimes to full-on syncopated rock fury (replete with a molten John MacLaughlin-meets-Kirk Hammett guitar solo.) Elsewhere, blustery blasts of metallic guitars give way to swirling, proggy synths on "Hearts That Hanker For Mistake." Electric piano leads the blues-dub "March of the Caterpillar" while "Breakfast Cat" boasts the tightest rhythm guitar strumming and grooving drums this side of The Meters.
In an age where taking risks and being fearless can make or break you, RX have emerged as a tidal wave, a force that shatters all the boundaries set against them. Throughout their decade long career, the group has reinvented and revolutionized their identity while retaining their socially conscious lyrics and eruptive instrumentation. This concept has been the catalyst for the band’s ever-growing fanbase, which revels in their uniqueness and continue to storm their celebrated, incendiary live shows. RX Bandits' performance on the main stage at Bonnaroo in 2007 proved the band's majesty to a new audience, while myriad tours with the likes of Portugal The Man, Tera Melos, Fall of Troy, et al, have built the quartet's considerable fan base over the years.
Tracking for Mandala took place at The Mouse House Studio in Northern Pasadena in March of 2009, and marked the return of producer Chris Fudurich to the fold.The album features dramatically hypnotic artwork by Sonny Kay.
RX Bandits first emerged in 1999, forming in Orange County, CA. The young band, fresh out of high school had already been signed to a woefully disastrous recording contract under a different name in a previous incarnation. As the band's music rapidly matured, its label didn't -- leading to many years' strife and struggle to stick to their guns and release the music they wanted. Three albums (Halfway Between Here and There, Progress and The Resignation... the seething sentiments in the titles are quite telling) and nearly 7 years later, the band was freed of its bondage to self-release ...And The Battle Begun on its own MDB Records imprint with Sargent House in 2006. Live From Bonnaroo, a digital iTunes exclusive release followed in December 2007. On July 14th, 2009, Mandala hits shelves via Sargent House.
The mandala is peaking. It's all come full circle as we enter into a completely new realm and Mandala is the soundtrack.